Saturday, December 15, 2007

I stood next to Cynthia Rowley!

... at the opening party for her new Bucktown salon on Thursday night. It's an adorable, jewel-boxed-sized shop that's tricked out for girly girls and sophistiachicks. I stood next to Ms. Rowley several times and yeah, I should have introduced myself but I chickened out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Amore Pacific Gift with Purchase

Neimans Promotions Department to Me: Enjoy an amazing free facial from the Amore Pacific experts flown in from the brand's New York City spa!
Who knew a free facial = a $400 bill for products.
Gulp. My face is a wreck, so this stuff better work, and fast.
Photoshoot on Thursday.
Got fake lash corners glued in today and am frightened -- I look like the love child of Divine and Liza Minelli. Have been hacking away at the Cher-like lashes with a set of fingernail scissors. They are so ridiculous they are actually CASTING A SHADOW on my face. I am pissed off. Or maybe just lashing out ...

Lip Service: Battle of the Balms

Here's a post about a lip treatment that soothes, and one that sucks. First, the good stuff. I got a sample size of Relish Beauty's shea butter lip balm, and I have to say, it was love at first smell -- a light orangy waxy frangrance. It went on smoothly and felt great. Unfortunately it didn't last very long, but it was darn cute and did I mention the nice aroma. It wasn't enough to sway me from my beloved Kristin Balm (which I think actually helped heal the chapped skin between my nose and my upper lip, a souvenir of a recent cold). But, it was a miracle balm in comparison to the glop that gurdles forth from the Kinerase Lip Treatment tube. I got a sample size from a Mercedes Benz sales event swag bag (the company was one of the sponsors of the "lifestyle event" surrounding the cars) and I was optimistic at first. I mean, Kinerase's pitchwoman, Courtney Cox always had nice (albeit small) lips. No thanks to this stuff. The package promises to smooth and plump while reducing the appearance of fine lines. Huh? It tasted like vanilla extract toothpaste and seemed to evaporate off the lips upon impact. Then I read the rest of the label and thought, well, what do I expect from a skincare company from Costa Mesa, California? Of course I could be persuaded otherwise if, say, the full line of products arrived at my door to test drive ... along with the Mercedes of course!

Swag to Purchase: the MicrodermaMitt

I first discovered the MDMitt tucked into the Chicago fashion week swag bag (did I mention it was the best ever?) and I have used it so much it's now come apart at the seams. It is now MicrodermaRagg. So I am buying a new one, cost is $22 at the brand's online store. I can't tell you how much I love this, though, and it makes my Dove Self Tanning Moisturizer go on better, and you KNOW I love that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It's called Bordeaux Balm from a tiny little company called Kristin: Skincare from the Vine. This grape seed-based allover wunderbalm smoothes out hands and feet, moistens chapped lips and even controls flyaway strands of hair. I love anything in a pot (my fav. Biotherm lotion and Carmex, for instance) and this little pot du balm is actually thin enough to fit into my large wallet. Full disclosure: Kristin is actually a friend of mine, she is fabulous and glamorous and nice, a great dog mom and a new baby mom whose family owns a vineyard in my home town. Hence her access to the vines. But that doesn't mean I'd blog about her unless I really loved her stuff. The balm is kind of hard to find right now -- it's only in four or five stores -- so Web ordering is your best bet right now. But sourcing hurdles only make this balm more of a must-have for beautynistas like us. Especially as we enter the Windy City's cruelest month. BUY IT HERE: It's $12 per, plus s/h. A "grape" deal! This pot will last you FOREVER!!
Now, on a different note, I have a PILE of products to report on, I have just been on deadline, but here's a (free) sample of what's to come as I catch up on my cyberreporting:
-- TONS of Urban Decay goodies. Loved the mascara, lipglosses are a bit too tacky for my taste (tacky as in sticky, not tacky as in tasteless).
-- Dr. Michelle Copeland skin cleanser, am using this now thanks to the Lucky party gift bags (seriously one of the best gift bags, kicked NY Fashion Week's ass). I have been using this for about two weeks and I love it. Although it's hard to get used to the non-foaming aspect. Although, hey wait, I just realized, this product also comes en pot. Viva le pot!
-- More biotherm reviews on the way.
-- Got some news about the spa opening up in the Palmer House Hilton -- will look like this: MMMMMMMM. April, people. Hold on.
-- Got some news about the Trump spa that's under construction. Debut is set for March. I wanna meeta Ivanka. I love her and wish I had a cool, sexy low vox like she does.

See what you're getting into…before you go there

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I met Rachel Roy!

I can't give away any secrets because I will be pitching a story about her soon, but let me just say, this woman is so incredibly gorgeous and so funny and genuine and just NICE, I was bowled over. She's so comfortable in her own skin and I really felt like I sensed how much she enjoys what she does. It was an honor to meet her.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

No Swag, but Lots of Nick (Verreos, that is!)

I just got back from the Lucky Magazine party in the West Loop -- it was the best of times (Nick Verreos sighting!) and the worst of times (gift bags disappeared before I was able to snag one!). But the free food kept coming (my favorites were the mini red cupcakes with tart cream cheese icing and the duck carpaccio nibblies) and so did the friends. I saw so many people that I really liked and hadn't seen in a long time. With my book and the rash of freelance I had this summer, I was an email-only friend for a while. Lots of catching up. Common discussion point that night: What, exactly, was supposed to happen at the party? There was no announcement, no presentation ... but heck, it was a good time! Did I mention I saw Nick Verreos? I was a total Gawker Stalker, pretending I didn't see him yet angling for a spot standing next to him. He's really good looking, exactly like he looks on TV -- perfect complexion, perfectly turned out. Short. Beautiful smile.
Rumored to be in the swag bag:
Cosabella thong -- yeah! -- courtesy of Isabella Lingerie (a gorgeous store)
but size was L/XL -- wahh.
A big Grey Goose box -- yeah! -- but we suspected inside was only a shaker,
no actual booze -- wahh.
Bottle of Figi water (how many natural resources were burned carting this
stuff across the frickin ocean from Figi!?)
A bottle of Jil Sander perfume - saweet!
A compact from Cynthia Rowley -- yeah! -- for Avon -- eh?
A cute Lucky Magazine tote bag
A pair of fugly yet comfy socks
A keychain from Ugg (opening a store on Oak Street next week, Padma Lakshmi is promised to be at the opening)
OK, now that I write this, I am bummed I didnt get one. And I am thinking, this was better than the sad swag sacks passed off, er, I mean passed out to journos at NYFW. Ah well, que sera la swag.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Urban Decay Update

I just started using this eye makeup remover that I snagged via post back in April. In some words, I love it. Why? Well, the stuff works, but I suspect it's not too hard to make a good eye makeup remover. (Although I do prefer the clear gel of this version more than a milky formula like Kiehls.) What makes this great is the product design, specifically the cool pump/spout. This lets me control the amount of product I squirt onto the end of my Q-tip -- more pressure, more product. You see where I am going with this. Most of the makeup I am removing is old mascara racoon-eye stuff, and just a dab will do me. The Urban Decay is perfect for this, and when my free stuff is gone -- which won't be anytime soon, as it's a great value -- I may actually buy some more.    

Can you find the hidden words?  Take a break and play Seekadoo!

US Magazine Fashion Week Update

Thanks to my new issue of US Magazine (with TristaBaby on the cover --ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ) I learned that my Fashion Week celeb sighting prowess fell short. Specifically, I failed to take notice of Demi Moore, who was sitting a mere six or seven rows away from me at the Temperley show. I don't know the exact number of rows simply because I am not positive which row I was seated in. I know where Demi was: front row. There were throngs of photographers snapping the front row, where Molly Simms and Rachel Zoe were parked. I did not realize Demi was there, too. I didn't see her come in during the media frenzy immediately preceding the show -- she must have been a late arrival. How very A-list of her to slip in when the lights went down! Question: Can I brag about our time together if I didn't realize she was there until after the fact!?

Discover sweet stuff waiting for you at the Messenger Cafe.  Claim your treat today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept. 8/Rosa Cha

Two videos of the March of the Glamazons. Enjoy!

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Sept. 9/Rosa Cha

By far the biggest tent, the event was grande -- who knew a Brazillian swimwear designer could have so many best friends? Really a great collection, though -- the level of beading and handwork reminded me of Chloe and also Luca Luca. I'd wear it all, if I were a Brazillian SuperGlamazon, like every. single. one. of. her. models. It was unreal. The swag was wonderful -- a throw pillow and a big canvas beach bag. Fun -- yet not entirely functional. I snagged two pillows (for some reason, many people did not want to walk around the tents with throw pillows!?), stuffed them into the bag, and dropped a five-spot to drop-ship the package home, courtesy of the DHL kiosk. Yup, DHL is a major sponsor. Who knew. And really, who cares -- they were giving out Elini's cookies frosted to look like tiny DHL vans. I ate like 50, since there was no other food in sight. Just booze. Lots of booze, coffee and chilled tubs filled with energy drinks. Quelle Fashion!

The photographer end of the runway. They were all packed like sardines into the space. They knew where they were stationed because the entire tiered space was sectioned off with masking tape into squares, and the name of the publication was written on the tape. NY Daily News? WWD? Just look for your name on the quadrant of tape!
The radiant former model, now TV hostess Veronica Webb. Alas no Tim Gunn!
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More Temperley

Stylist Phillip Bloch channelling Jay Gatsby

Hopefully this movie will load -- note Nick Rhodes sitting between Simon and Jacquetta (bleached blonde bedhed and black button-down), and also note how long everyone is clapping. That's Fashion Show etiquette -- keep the clapping going during the entire Finale Parade of Models. It's OK to pause, but you must resume clapping until the designer peeks his or her head from behind the scrim, signaling furious clapping, then the lights go up and you haul out of the hall.
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In white shirt with black skinny tie. Padma is to the right of the model. She could not have been more gorgeous, honestly.
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Sept. 9/Temperley

Alice's show was by far the biggest, most star-studded affair I attended. Of course I overslept so I had to rush to the show -- thankfully this stuff runs on Garment Time. Like, each show was a minimum of a half-hour late, and that was just to start check-in. Add another 30 for seating, and you've got your hour delay. With Temperley, there was an additional half-hour or so for celebrity interviews, seatings and general hub-bub. The biggest splash was Rachel Zoe, celeb stylist and contender for fright-night impersonator. Also in view was Molly Simms, Phillip Bloch, Padma Lakshmi, Jaquetta Wheeler and ... drumroll please ... Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran.

Me, before I finessed another s-2-s-2-s maneuver. Sadly, only the first two rows got swag -- a Temperley bag, not sure what was inside.

Far left, Padma and Jacquetta (the two never spoke) and Nick's head (blonde). This is actually the first still from a video I shot where I got some good D2 footage.

Supermodel Agnyss Deyn opened the show. I loved this dress -- SO Temperley.
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My lovely home-away-from-home

My hostess with the mostest has always had a knack for finding the most gracious homes, regardless of the city. And she did it again in NYC. In a word, lovely. Some more words: quiet, precious, serene, Parisian, perfect.
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The Tents, inside and out

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Sept. 7/Cynthia Rowley

This show was off campus, as it were, in Gotham Hall. It was a bit of a walk, and I ended up standing in a crowd for about an hour in unbearable heat. Realized about a half-hour into it that I had forgotten to eat that day (how fashion week of me!) so I had a nice blogger hold my spot in line while I grabbed an apple and a Diet Coke from a pushcart on the corner. The blogger was a copywriter for a major fashion label that I can't mention (starts with an R and ends with an Alphlauren) yet she had no pull. Not even to get an invite to her own boss's little show! Jeesh. But we were cheered by the sudden appearance of Ken Downing, the fashion director for Neiman Marcus. Sir Ken was Just Like Us, sweating in his fall fashion, trying to get through the very same front door. He was pretty good natured about it, even when I was really dorky and said, "Hey, are you from Dallas?" Like I didn't know exactly who he was. CR's show rocked. Note the swag on the benches: It was a small picnic basket with a taupe fabric hotel napkin that was prettily knotted at the top, concealing a mini Fiji water bottle and a small bag of Garrett's popcorn! A delightful touch of home for our Chicago native Miss Rowley. The show was packed packed packed but yours truly was able to move from standing to seating to swag in short order. This show had such a great vibe -- great summer tunes (Bordelaise, anyone?) and for the finale, several models careened down the wide runway on bikes! The front row started squealing as the models lurched and swerved, and everyone in the house was laughing and clapping. Then when Cynthia herself pedaled out, nearly everyone jumped to their feet, clapping and cheering. I am going to buy something CR this season and Tivo her Design Star show, just as a "thank you" for such a great show.

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NINA GARCIA!!!!!!! She was everywhere on Friday, being interviewed and just walking around. She's tall and super glamorous. But what I thought was cool is that she had this look of happiness on her face -- dare I say bliss? Like, no matter how many times she had to make the fashion week rounds, it was still exciting and new. God bless her. I just got her new book (birthday gift) and am on page five or so (give me a break, I have a job), but it seems good already, if not a bit generic (self confidence is sexy -- duh!). Anyway, Nina rocks. And I will devour the upcoming PR season as quickly as you can say TiVo!
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Sept. 7/Tracy Reese

Viva La Reese! This show was wonderful -- wearable, colorful and whimsical. Got my first lesson in How To Move from Standing to Sitting. Once you check in, you either get an index card with a seat assignment on it or a big fat "s" -- meaning you stand behind the rows of chairs, in a row of standing people. And you get no swag. But the alert fashionista can move from standing to sitting (to swagulousness!) by following a few simple rules. Rule #1: Get in line early. #2: Rush past crowd and park yourself to the immediate side of an aisle (not in the aisle, very important or you will get yelled at). #3. Be quiet and wait. #4. Get a fix on the intern who is coordinating seating for your section; it is her job to make sure all seats are filled by the time the houselights go down. #5. Make eye contact with this intern and make sure she sees you have your purse in your hand and are ready to move to an open seat before she can even finish barking "You!"
What I loved most about this show was the girliness of TR's vibe. Pretty Easter colors, and lots of layered jewelry (mostly lockets, mental note: must buy layering lockets). Lots of fitted garments and cute fitted jackets, no tent dresses (hurrah!) and heavy on the light grays (like Terexov, actually).

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Sept. 6/Gottex

This show was amazing -- fantastic seat assignment plus ... tadum! ... my first swag del dia, a big mesh beach bag accented with shiny black plastic strips. Not unlike the first suit down the jetway, one the program said was some sort of homage to 007 chic. Inside said bag was a full-sized Redken hair duo, shampoo and conditioner. Niiice! Much better than Terexov, which sadly I missed entirely (I had a seat, where was the swag bag!?). I heard it was a nice paper shopping bag with a small can of hairspray. Which I could have used, as I lost mine to the TSAzis at O'Hare. Anyway, Gottex was nice -- especially the suits with the small triangles in shades of green -- but I was somewhat surprised that the models were not without cellulite. Although the jiggling was probably more pronounced 1) because of the harsh light; and 2) because models were in teeny bikini bottoms and clomping down the runway in heels. A great evening of shows! And onward to Friday!
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NYC Fashion Week! Sept. 6/Terexov Show



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Monday, June 18, 2007

Flirty Girl Fitness -- I'm Hooked on the Pole!

Tonight I took a free class at Chicago's newest fitness concept, Flirty Girl Fitness, just down the street from Oprah's studios in the West Loop. O indeed! The class? Pole dancing, in a chic rustic dance space tricked out with 14 poles. The results? My body is aching and my right foot is bruised, yet my ego is strangely unbruised. I survived the hour -- and swung around on a pole! It rocked. Oh yeah I sucked. Badly. Sadly I have no shimmy in me -- I blame my Cohen side -- and I was never a cheerleader, hence I missed out on the part of life where you learn to mimic peppy choreographed routines. Believe it or not, I picked it up, more or less, and didn't completely embarass myself. Not that anyone was looking anyway -- all the other women in the class were concentrating equally hard on hanging on for dear life. And when we weren't concentrating on Le Pole, we were mesmerized by the instructor. I would like to know how many classs I need to sign up for and how many meals I need to vomit up before I can be that amazing. I actually think I might join the studio, but if I don't, I will definitely return on the per-session pass (5 classes for $100). Interesting to note: The poles in the front of the class room are "regulation" width; the poles in the back are specially designed by FGF to be a bit smaller -- easier for tiny hands to grasp. Also interesting to note: The instructor told us to take off our shoes to do the class. Not for safety or technique, but rather because "gym shoes aren't sexy." My thoughts exactly!

Friday, June 15, 2007

That's Amore -- Amore Pacific, that is

A few months ago I was invited to preview this new line of luxury botanical skincare out of Korea that's made with green tea harvested on the company's own private island. Got a free facial, it rocked. But the bag of samples I got sat in my bathroom until about a week ago. Amore Pacific gets most of its props for its superultramega moisturizers. And that's cool, for people who don't break out just by touching the lid. So pretty much, I didn't touch any lids. About a week ago, I couldn't find my special facial cleanser, which I buy from my best friend in Savannah, who is a plastic surgeon and runs a med-spa. I bought a whole face system from her but since it was prescription, she told me I had to read the directions before starting. Yeah, I'll get right on that. At some point. So I don't do much beyond using the cleanser. And last week, I couldn't find it. So I broke out this cleanser from Amore Pacific. I have to say, I was really impressed. It took off makeup instantly and without any residue whatsoever, even though it's called an "oil" on the container. It goes on as an oil, but then you add a bit of water and it soaps up like a, well, like a soap. Removing it gently with a damp face cloth, I couldn't believe how clean my pores were. And anyone who knows me knows I tend towards the Kabuki with the make-up. I may actually start buying it once my sample size draws to a close. It's $50 at Neimans. I will slather on some occasional Retin A and call it a clean, clear day. That's amore!